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Eiríks saga rauða SS 476 Discussion 8 February 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Eiríks saga rauða SS 476 Discussion 8 February 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Eiríks saga rauða SS 476 Discussion 8 February 2005

2 Agenda Background Background The texts The texts The places The places The people The people Things to look for Things to look for Recap of the saga Recap of the saga Questions for group discussion Questions for group discussion

3 Background: The texts Two Vinland Sagas Two Vinland Sagas Eiríks saga rauða Eiríks saga rauða Grœnlendiga Saga Grœnlendiga Saga Timeframe Timeframe Action: c. 970 – 1030 Action: c. 970 – 1030 Writing: c – 1280 Writing: c – 1280 Some overlap, some divergence between the two texts Some overlap, some divergence between the two texts Historical roots are quite noticeable in these two sagas Historical roots are quite noticeable in these two sagas We will focus only on The Saga of Eirik the Red We will focus only on The Saga of Eirik the Red

4 Background: The places Iceland Iceland Greenland Greenland Eastern Settlement, Eiriksfjord Eastern Settlement, Eiriksfjord Western Settlement Western Settlement Helluland Helluland Markland Markland Vinland Vinland

5 Background: Regional map

6 Background: Places in Greenland Present-day Eiriksfjord (Eastern Settlement)

7 Background: Getting from place to place “From Stad in Norway it is 7 doegr sailing to Horn, on Iceland’s east coast; but from Snaefelsnes, in Iceland, it takes 4 doegr to sail to Kvarv in Greenland. From Herdla [nr. Bergen] in Norway one is to sail directly westward to reach Kvarv in Greenland…[sail] south of Iceland, but only so far away that one can see the birds and whales common in Icelandic waters…” -Hauksbok c “From Stad in Norway it is 7 doegr sailing to Horn, on Iceland’s east coast; but from Snaefelsnes, in Iceland, it takes 4 doegr to sail to Kvarv in Greenland. From Herdla [nr. Bergen] in Norway one is to sail directly westward to reach Kvarv in Greenland…[sail] south of Iceland, but only so far away that one can see the birds and whales common in Icelandic waters…” -Hauksbok c. 1334

8 Background: The people Note: The Viking era robe and axe at right were found in Greenland Note: The Viking era robe and axe at right were found in Greenland Eirik and his sons: Leif, Thorstein, Thorvald Eirik and his sons: Leif, Thorstein, Thorvald Thorfinn Karlsefni and Gudrid Thorbjornardottir and their son Snorri Thorfinn Karlsefni and Gudrid Thorbjornardottir and their son Snorri Others to watch for: Aud, Freydis, Thorhall the Huntsman, Bjarni Grimolfsson Others to watch for: Aud, Freydis, Thorhall the Huntsman, Bjarni Grimolfsson

9 Things to look for Six sections of a typical saga Six sections of a typical saga Introduction, Conflict, Climax, Revenge, Reconciliation, Aftermath Introduction, Conflict, Climax, Revenge, Reconciliation, Aftermath Honor Honor Role and portrayal of women Role and portrayal of women Conflict between old, new religions Conflict between old, new religions

10 Recap of the saga (1 of 14) Section 1 Section 1 Gudrid’s ancestry traced back to Vifil, a slave of Aud the Deep-minded and King Olaf the White of Dublin Gudrid’s ancestry traced back to Vifil, a slave of Aud the Deep-minded and King Olaf the White of Dublin Olaf dies, Aud takes charge, moves self and son, Thorstein, to Hebrides Olaf dies, Aud takes charge, moves self and son, Thorstein, to Hebrides Thorstein dies, Aud takes charge again, moves to Iceland, claims land, builds a church Thorstein dies, Aud takes charge again, moves to Iceland, claims land, builds a church Aud sets Vifil free Aud sets Vifil free

11 Recap of the saga (2 of 14) Section 2 Section 2 Eirik the Red and father flee from Norway to Iceland because of “some killings.” Eirik the Red and father flee from Norway to Iceland because of “some killings.” Eirik gets involved in more killings and is outlawed Eirik gets involved in more killings and is outlawed Full outlawry: Banished for life, property forfeit, can be killed without redress, etc… Full outlawry: Banished for life, property forfeit, can be killed without redress, etc… Lesser outlawry: Banished for three years, property not forfeit, “enclosure”, can return later and continue a normal life Lesser outlawry: Banished for three years, property not forfeit, “enclosure”, can return later and continue a normal life

12 Recap of the saga (3 of 14) Section 2 ctd… Section 2 ctd… Eirik explores Greenland, claims land and settles there Eirik explores Greenland, claims land and settles there Eirik returns after sentence is up and recruits people to move to Greenland Eirik returns after sentence is up and recruits people to move to Greenland Section 3 Section 3 Thorbjorn moves to Greenland – daughter Gudrid comes along Thorbjorn moves to Greenland – daughter Gudrid comes along

13 Recap of the saga (4 of 14) Section 3 ctd… Section 3 ctd… Great famine in Greenland Great famine in Greenland Gudrid compelled to help seeress Thorbjorg in pagan rite against her will Gudrid compelled to help seeress Thorbjorg in pagan rite against her will Thorbjorg prophesies end of famine, Gudrid’s marriage to Thorstein, Gudrid’s future in Iceland, success of Gudrid’s offspring Thorbjorg prophesies end of famine, Gudrid’s marriage to Thorstein, Gudrid’s future in Iceland, success of Gudrid’s offspring

14 Recap of the saga (5 of 14) Section 4 Section 4 Leif sails to Norway to stay with King Olaf Leif sails to Norway to stay with King Olaf Blown off course to Hebrides Blown off course to Hebrides Father’s child with Thorgunna Father’s child with Thorgunna King Olaf charges Leif with Christianization of Greenland King Olaf charges Leif with Christianization of Greenland Leif sails back to Greenland Leif sails back to Greenland Blown off course to unknown lands, brings back samples of wild rice, grapes, timber, maple, etc… Blown off course to unknown lands, brings back samples of wild rice, grapes, timber, maple, etc… Rescues shipwrecked men, earns moniker “The Lucky” Rescues shipwrecked men, earns moniker “The Lucky”

15 Recap of the saga (6 of 14) Section 4 ctd… Section 4 ctd… Leif preaches Christianity in Greenland Leif preaches Christianity in Greenland Eirik does not accept Christianity Eirik does not accept Christianity Eirik’s wife, Thjodhild, converts, builds church (ruins discovered in 1960’s), moves out Eirik’s wife, Thjodhild, converts, builds church (ruins discovered in 1960’s), moves out Greenlanders decide to find lands Leif described Greenlanders decide to find lands Leif described Eirik to come along, hides chest of gold, silver Eirik to come along, hides chest of gold, silver Eirik falls off horse, tells wife where chest is Eirik falls off horse, tells wife where chest is

16 Recap of the saga (7 of 14) Section 4 ctd… Section 4 ctd… Voyage is storm-tossed all summer, they see Iceland, birds from Ireland, return to Greenland Voyage is storm-tossed all summer, they see Iceland, birds from Ireland, return to Greenland Thorstein marries Gudrid Thorstein marries Gudrid Thorstein dies, comes back from dead, tells Gudrid to be a good Christian, change burial practices, give money to poor, not marry a Greenlander, dies again Thorstein dies, comes back from dead, tells Gudrid to be a good Christian, change burial practices, give money to poor, not marry a Greenlander, dies again

17 Recap of the saga (8 of 14) Section 4 ctd… Section 4 ctd… Thorbjorn (Gudrid’s father) dies, Gudrid inherits his property Thorbjorn (Gudrid’s father) dies, Gudrid inherits his property Gudrid taken in, protected by Eirik Gudrid taken in, protected by Eirik Section 5 Section 5 Thorfinn comes to Greenland, stays with Eirik Thorfinn comes to Greenland, stays with Eirik Thorfinn finances Eirik’s Christmas festivities Thorfinn finances Eirik’s Christmas festivities Throfinn marries Gudrid, they winter with Eirik Throfinn marries Gudrid, they winter with Eirik

18 Recap of the saga (9 of 14) Section 5 ctd… Section 5 ctd… Large voyage, led by Throfinn, to seek out Vinland people, including: Large voyage, led by Throfinn, to seek out Vinland people, including: Thorhall – described as a “bad Christian” Thorhall – described as a “bad Christian” Eirik the Red’s (illegitimate?) daughter Freydis Eirik the Red’s (illegitimate?) daughter Freydis Sail to Western Settlement, then to Bear Isles, then two days to Helluland Sail to Western Settlement, then to Bear Isles, then two days to Helluland Sail two days to heavily forested Markland and Bjarney Sail two days to heavily forested Markland and Bjarney

19 Recap of the saga (10 of 14) Section 5 ctd… Section 5 ctd… Sail south along land to Kjalarnes, Furdustrands Sail south along land to Kjalarnes, Furdustrands Send two (possibly fictional) Scots on 3 day running trek – they return with wild grain and grapes Send two (possibly fictional) Scots on 3 day running trek – they return with wild grain and grapes Unload at Straumsfjord to make winter camp Unload at Straumsfjord to make winter camp Bad food situation, pray, but no answer, Thorhall disappears Bad food situation, pray, but no answer, Thorhall disappears

20 Recap of the saga (11 of 14) Section 5 ctd… Section 5 ctd… Thorhall found chanting mysteriously Thorhall found chanting mysteriously Beached whale turns up, Thorhall credits Thor, disparages Christ Beached whale turns up, Thorhall credits Thor, disparages Christ Crew disposes of whale and weather improves Crew disposes of whale and weather improves Thorhall and nine others decide to “search for Vinland” on own, blown off course to Ireland, where they die as slaves Thorhall and nine others decide to “search for Vinland” on own, blown off course to Ireland, where they die as slaves

21 Recap of the saga (12 of 14) Section 6 Section 6 Thorfinn and crew sail to Hop Thorfinn and crew sail to Hop Skrælings come for the first time Skrælings come for the first time Thorfinn and crew winter in Hop Thorfinn and crew winter in Hop Skrælings return in spring to trade furs for cloth – Thorfinn forbids trading weapons Skrælings return in spring to trade furs for cloth – Thorfinn forbids trading weapons Thorfinn’s bull gets loose, Skrælings frightened, flee, disappear for three weeks Thorfinn’s bull gets loose, Skrælings frightened, flee, disappear for three weeks

22 Recap of the saga (13 of 14) Section 6 ctd… Section 6 ctd… Skrælings return for vengeance, Vikings flee Skrælings return for vengeance, Vikings flee Pregnant Freydis picks up sword and slaps it to breast, Skrælings flee Pregnant Freydis picks up sword and slaps it to breast, Skrælings flee Throfinn and company decide to go back to Straumsfjord Throfinn and company decide to go back to Straumsfjord On quest to find Thorhall, Uniped kills Thorvald, who, while dying, makes a joke about the size of his belly On quest to find Thorhall, Uniped kills Thorvald, who, while dying, makes a joke about the size of his belly

23 Recap of the saga (14 of 14) Section 6 ctd… Section 6 ctd… They decide to sail back to Greenland – first mention of 3 year old Snorri They decide to sail back to Greenland – first mention of 3 year old Snorri One ship, captained by Bjarni Grimolfsson, goes off course, starts sinking One ship, captained by Bjarni Grimolfsson, goes off course, starts sinking Draw lots for the lifeboat Draw lots for the lifeboat Bjarni honorably trades places with crewman, mocks his desire to live Bjarni honorably trades places with crewman, mocks his desire to live Lifeboat washes up in Dublin, rest drown Lifeboat washes up in Dublin, rest drown Thorfinn and Gudrid settle in Iceland, three bishops among descendants, prophecy fulfilled Thorfinn and Gudrid settle in Iceland, three bishops among descendants, prophecy fulfilled

24 Questions for group discussion Why do we still find this story interesting? Why do we still find this story interesting?

25 Questions for group discussion Who is the hero of this saga? Who is the hero of this saga? Eirik? Eirik? Leif? Leif? Thorfinn? Thorfinn? Gudrid? Gudrid?

26 Questions for group discussion Does this saga fit the structure described in lecture? Does this saga fit the structure described in lecture? Introduction Introduction Conflict Conflict Climax Climax Revenge Revenge Reconciliation Reconciliation Aftermath Aftermath

27 Questions for group discussion What can we say about the role that women play in this saga? What can we say about the role that women play in this saga? Aud Aud Freydis Freydis Compare to Greenlanders saga Compare to Greenlanders saga Gudrid Gudrid

28 Questions for group discussion How is religion treated in this saga? How is religion treated in this saga? Does our answer about the structure of the text change if we consider the two combatants are Christianity and Paganism? Does our answer about the structure of the text change if we consider the two combatants are Christianity and Paganism? Gudrid’s lineage followed by Eirik’s lineage Gudrid’s lineage followed by Eirik’s lineage Thorbjorg’s prophecy Thorbjorg’s prophecy Thorstein’s prophecy Thorstein’s prophecy Thorhall and the whale Thorhall and the whale Gudrid’s progeny – pagan prophecy fulfilled with three bishops! Gudrid’s progeny – pagan prophecy fulfilled with three bishops!

29 Bibliography Images from the web: Images from the web: Eiriksfjord, map of Greenland: Eiriksfjord, map of Greenland: Regional map: ment.html Regional map: ment.html ment.html ment.html Garments from Greenland: Garments from Greenland: Texts: Texts: Thorsson, Örnólfur Sagas of Icelanders. London: Penguin. Thorsson, Örnólfur Sagas of Icelanders. London: Penguin. Tornöe, J. Kr Norsemen Before Columbus. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. Tornöe, J. Kr Norsemen Before Columbus. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.


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